What do you order when you go out for Italian?

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Sonny Funzio
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What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Fri, 09/15/06 3:25 PM
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When you go to an Italian restaurant, what are your favorite couple dishes to order?

Aside of the most tempting answer which is "just about everything" ... For me, when they're willing to make it for me, I order "Pasta Cicci" ... pasta with cicci peas (chick peas) sauteed with garlic butter and topped with Italian bread crumbs. (garlic butter and breadcrumbs is one of my favorite ways to eat spaghetti anyway)

As far as appetizers ... if they are on the menu, I'd have to say Arancini (the translation is "little oranges" because of the way they look) which are rice balls or croquettes made with saffron and filled with a mixture of meat, cheese, peas, mushrooms etc and then deep fried.

fabulousoyster
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Fri, 09/15/06 4:09 PM
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The only appetizers in an italian restaurant I usuallyorder is an antipasti plate.

Donna Douglass
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Fri, 09/15/06 4:33 PM
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My very favorite Italian place, aside from the delicious Italian dishes on the menu, is the one where I can get chicken livers. They are awesome and seldom seen on a menu anymore. There is such a huge helping of them that I can always take half of them home for breakfast the next morning. Glory be!!!!

Aside from that, their Italian specialities are also extremely good and the Tiramisum is scrumptuous. This is the Florentine Restaurant on West Broad Street, just west of downtown Columbus, Ohio. They are a family-owned restaurant of very long standing and well worth trying if you truly love authenitic Italian cuisine.

Donna

TheHotPepper.com
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Fri, 09/15/06 4:45 PM
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Southern Italian for me... I like all the baked dishes! Lasagne, manicotti... veal parm! Also like ragus, like sausage or lamb ragu with rigatoni... man that rocks!

salsailsa
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Fri, 09/15/06 4:57 PM
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I typically order antipasto, calamari or insalata mista. I don't eat a lot of meat and am not that crazy about pasta. I like mussels and thin crust pizza as well.

phlmaestro2000
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Fri, 09/15/06 5:03 PM
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My most common appetizer is fried calamari. I usually go for some kind of pasta as an entree rather than chicken, veal or fish; although I may have shellfish mixed in with the pasta. One place I used to go to a lot had a dish I loved that was penne with shrimp in a tomato-cream sauce. Another one I like is angel hair pasta with crab meat in an olive oil-garlic sauce.

jvsmom
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Fri, 09/15/06 5:45 PM
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I loooove to start with Caesar salad, or perhaps antipasto salad.

As for entrees, I love veal, particularly Marsala, or Francaise (I think I spelled that right) - which is the one where they take the veal, lightly bread it and fry it and then put a lemon butter sauce over it.

But if I'm more in the mood for traditional Italian, I'll go with lasagna, or chicken or veal parmagiana.

I'm usually too full for dessert, but I love to end the meal with a nice coffee drink. Last time it was, I believe, Swiss coffee, which had creme de cocao and creme de menth. Ooohh, it was so good. I also like a nutty Irishman (and not just because I'm married to one).

HotDogHead
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Fri, 09/15/06 6:05 PM
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I like shrimp scampi with pasta (the more garlic, the better).

Appetizers:
Calamari
Homemade minestrone soup at a local restaurant.
Fried cheese

Sundancer7
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Fri, 09/15/06 6:12 PM
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Veal parmi with a red meat sauce every time.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN

xannie_01
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Fri, 09/15/06 6:14 PM
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i make a meal out of 2 appetizers,
usually a soup and calimari.
dayle

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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Fri, 09/15/06 6:20 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by Sundancer7

Veal parmi with a red meat sauce every time.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN


And a side of linguine with spicy marinara makes this one of my favs too! Though, I don't get meat sauce on the parm.

Tedbear
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Fri, 09/15/06 6:39 PM
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I usually order Sole Piccata, or if that is not available, hopefully the restaurant has Chicken Piccata. If neither of those is available, then I gravitate toward Chicken Francaise or Chicken Marsala. Accompanied by some nice Pinot Grigio and some good crusty bread, this is a nice meal.

If I know that the restaurant has good soup, I might order Minestrone to start, or perhaps a side order of Escarole sauteed with garlic. At the end of the meal, I usually want a Double Espresso. Cafe Americano is just too filling after a meal, IMHO.

Greyghost
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Fri, 09/15/06 6:49 PM
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My Italian restaurant favorites are quite simple. For starters, I will try the soup. I have always found you can tell a lot about a restaurant by the quality of the soup.

I will almost always order a simple pasta dish. Pasta with a good tomato sauce and Italian sausage is fine with me, although I usually avoid meatballs. Linguine with clam sauce is also a favorite.

OK, I have the taste of a peasant, but I do like simple food as long as it is made with care and quality ingredients.

Ciaoman
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Fri, 09/15/06 8:15 PM
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Greyghost, if you're a peasant, then so am I. I like simple Italian dishes best too. In my experience, Italian food is typically simple (compared, say, to French food). (I've learned a lot from Mario Batali in that regard.)

The best Italian food I've eaten in Italy was simple too--great ingredients prepared carefully and simply. I love good soups and it's seems like it's getting tougher to find restaurants that do them well. Maybe there's less demand for them now. I also really enjoy good bruschetta--grilled bread, rubbed with fresh garlic and covered with chopped ripe tomatoes and basil. I like lots of different pasta dishes provided the pasta isn't mushy and oversauced. Grilled Veal chops, Saltimbocca, a homey chicken cacciatore or Osso Buco (my all-time fav) are on my hit list. Followed by a simple salad and great espresso. Bellissima!

xannie_01
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Fri, 09/15/06 8:20 PM
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ciaoman,
you make an excellent point about pasta being oversauced.
i always ask for the sauce on the side.

Ciaoman
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Fri, 09/15/06 8:27 PM
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Thanks, Xannie, but that's something I learned from Mario B. too. Most restaurants in Italy drop the al dente pasta directly into a saute pan with just enough "condimento" (the sauce) to dress the pasta as if it were a salad--no swimming in a bowl of it. (Nor do they ever rinse the pasta with water...ugh. The cooking water adds flavor. Exception: If you're making a cold pasta salad. Then it's good to rinse it with cool water so it doesn't stick together.) According to him, the pasta is just as important as the sauce is. I try to do that at home--keep the pasta and sauce in proper balance. Always try to cook the pasta carefully so that it retains its texture.

skylar0ne
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Fri, 09/15/06 11:54 PM
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I usually order an app of shrimp scampi with garlic toast, and chicken or veal marsala for my main course. If I can hold dessert, I order tiramasu.

TheHotPepper.com
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Fri, 09/15/06 11:56 PM
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You made me order chicken parm and linguini tonight.

ann peeples
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Sat, 09/16/06 12:01 AM
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Linguini with clam sauce-or eggplant parmesan

Twinwillow
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Sat, 09/16/06 12:19 AM
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To start, clams oreganate, then, Veal parm of course with a side of Brocolli Rabe sauteed in EVOO with garlic and hot pepper flakes. Dessert; Biscuit Tortoni and an espresso.

TheHotPepper.com
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Sat, 09/16/06 12:37 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by twinwillow

To start, clams oreganate, then, Veal parm of course with a side of Brocolli Rabe sauteed in EVOO with garlic and hot pepper flakes. Dessert; Biscuit Tortoni and an espresso.

Rachel Ray, is that you?

Twinwillow
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Sat, 09/16/06 12:40 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by TheHotPepper.com

quote:
Originally posted by twinwillow

To start, clams oreganate, then, Veal parm of course with a side of Brocolli Rabe sauteed in EVOO with garlic and hot pepper flakes. Dessert; Biscuit Tortoni and an espresso.

Rachel Ray, is that you?

I wish!

PapaJoe8
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Sat, 09/16/06 11:19 AM
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Mmmm, all of the above sounds great! Yes, even the liver.

Sometimes I start with some good fresh baked bread and a small plate of olive oil for dipping, along with a salid with some good fresh made house Italian dressing. Oh, and some calamari. Shoot, now I'm to full for dinner! Oh well, the entre will be good leftover.
Joe

Pwingsx
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Sat, 09/16/06 1:43 PM
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I am a total sucker for veal piccata.

Or veal parmagiana. Especially when topped by freshly grated lemon peel. Mmmm mmmm mmmmm!

Trishkaidekaphobia
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Sat, 09/16/06 2:54 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by Pwingsx

I am a total sucker for veal piccata.

Or veal parmagiana. Especially when topped by freshly grated lemon peel. Mmmm mmmm mmmmm!


Ditto on the veal piccata! YUM!!! Sometimes, I order eggplant parmagiana (especially if I'm with one of my veggier-than-thou friends).

Gelato for dessert. Double YUM!!!

billyboy
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Sun, 09/17/06 11:18 AM
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I usually get chicken parmesan. I'm on a quest to find the perfect chicken parm. I've had many good ones and some bad ones that had cilnatro on them and were even grilled. The second choice would be bruschetta/crostini from any place that makes it as their specialty.

AndreaB
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Sun, 09/17/06 12:15 PM
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I usually order eggplant parm, or a dish with a marinara sauce and mussels or clams. And, let's not forget the necessity of a nice bottle of red wine!

Andrea

TwoJays
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Sun, 09/17/06 2:47 PM
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There's another thread somewhere (probably in the FFF forum) that discusses Mom & Pop Italian restaurants vs. Chains. In that thread, I noted that upon my first visit to a non-nonsense "red sauce" Italian Restaurant, I always order Chicken Parm, figuring if they can't get that staple done right, they're probably not worth visiting in the future. Thereafter, assuming they pass the test, I'll order almost any veal or chicken dish, or lasagna, depending on my mood and my hunger for red sauce.

John

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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Sun, 09/17/06 3:10 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by billyboy

I usually get chicken parmesan. I'm on a quest to find the perfect chicken parm. I've had many good ones and some bad ones that had cilnatro on them and were even grilled.

The good ones are at restaurants with pizza ovens. Not pizza joints, but sit down Italian restaurants that use their pizza ovens (wood, coal, whatever) for their baked dishes.

enginecapt
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Sun, 09/17/06 10:01 PM
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Melanzana parmigiana
Braciola
Potato-spinach gnocchi

TheHotPepper.com
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Sun, 09/17/06 10:15 PM
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Osso bucco!
Veal pizzaiola!

roossy90
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Mon, 09/18/06 3:16 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by TheHotPepper.com

quote:
Originally posted by twinwillow

To start, clams oreganate, then, Veal parm of course with a side of Brocolli Rabe sauteed in EVOO with garlic and hot pepper flakes. Dessert; Biscuit Tortoni and an espresso.

Rachel Ray, is that you?

I didnt hear the YUM.....
Or DELISH.
(ugh).

Farfromhome
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Mon, 09/18/06 4:11 AM
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For me, I'm always torn between chicken parm, or the lasagne. Places that make me happiest are mom and pop italian places that offer a dinner that has a small serving of both. And the ideal italian place offers a bread basket with italian bread and good olive oil for dipping, a salad with a good house-made dressing and to finish the meal off a cup of espresso with a biscotti. Meals like that make me think I've died and gone to heaven!!!

the grillman
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Mon, 09/18/06 1:01 PM
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House salad with artichokes and olives, perhaps some anchovies. Or, in season, a good tomato salad with fresh mozzarella di bufalo.

I prefer pasta with a red or broth based sauce, to a cream sauce - too heavy. I admit to being way too fond of meatballs and italian sausage with my pasta. Lately I've been doing more chicken and veal dishes.

Good bread is always a plus

For dessert, good coffee and a biscotti is fine.

ernieson
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Mon, 09/18/06 2:07 PM
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Not authenic anything, but my favorite- Fettucine Primavera

Fetuucine in cream sauce with as many vegetables as fettucine - must include lots of roasted red peppers and some onions, peas, mushrooms, zucchini and yellow squash


SassyGritsAL
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Mon, 09/18/06 5:54 PM
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Chicken Marsala for me as I'm not a big fan of red sauce.

V960
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Wed, 09/20/06 10:27 AM
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app-fried calimari
main-scampi

Ashphalt
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Wed, 09/20/06 10:38 AM
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Depends entirely on the restaurant. If it's an old-fashioned family style spaghetti house I might do a lasagna or manicotti, or even a plate of spaghetti and meatballs. If the place does a lot of fish I'm likely to order mussels marinara or fra diavolo or something with calimari. If it's a more upscale but traditional menu definitely something with veal. And if it's good Northern Italian or Tuscan I'm leaning toward the special of the day, frequently something grilled.

I guess I don't think of Italian restaurant as one thing.

doggydaddy
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Wed, 09/20/06 11:38 AM
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Risotto.

I am kind of a snot/snob about Italian food as I can cook all the favorite dishes listed here at home by myself. Even my own choice is a frequent dinner for me at home. With that in mind, it has been a very long time since I have stepped into an Italian restaurant. I would order something such as veal or a pasta with mixed seafood if I did go. No chicken parmesan or meatballs for me please.
I suspect it is that there is a real difference between what I can find here and what is found in the Bay Area.

I would like to find a place around here that does carpaccio, or uses real prosciutto di Parma.
I love tiramisu, but I think that I can be picky and find fault with some versions of that too.

mark


mollydingle
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Tue, 09/26/06 2:21 PM
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I usually start with insalata caprese, followed by chicken marsala or shrimp francese. I'm not a big fan of dessert, but I may occasionally have a gelato or a limoncello.
Hubby will have soup, usually minestrone, and chicken parm with a side of meatballs...

improviser
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Tue, 09/26/06 3:17 PM
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I usually order anything from mussels. I love to try new things so if we're going to a truly Italian place, I'll order whatever I've never heard of. But as my family is a boring, tried and true, Red Lobster and Olive Garden-going family, that doesn't happen too often.

howard8
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Wed, 09/27/06 11:19 AM
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There are way too many dishes I love and when it comes to
Italian, it depends how I feel.
Calamari is probably my number one appetizer, followed by
raw clams or oysters or a mussel dish with wine and garlic.
Risotto, usually a cheese or my favorite a porcini risotto.
Pasta, my first choice is a carbonara.
Osso bucco, thick veal chop, or veal parm for main entrees.

pinetree
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Fri, 09/29/06 12:03 PM
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I always ask the waiter what the specials are, or what the chef makes best, and order that. There aren't any places in New England that I'm aware of that make the Basilicata type specialties I like ~ like ciambatta (a fried potato, egg and veggie pie that my dad makes). One of my favorite Italian restuarants is the Venetian in Torrington CT. This is a classic Italian-American restaurant.


PepperPhil
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Mon, 10/2/06 10:45 PM
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Start out with Anti Pasto Tray, follow up with ravioli covered with maranari sauce, Spumoni for dessert

pmrkr2
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Mon, 10/2/06 11:48 PM
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baked clams
eggplant or veal parm

ynotryme
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Tue, 10/3/06 12:06 AM
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depends on how good the red sauce is. If I like it, I usually order veal parmiagiana with cappellini. I also like cappellini D'olio. That's an olive oil, garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes sauce. Plus an appetizer of clams casino. And Tortoni for desert.

uf
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RE: What do you order when you go out for Italian? - Tue, 10/3/06 3:29 AM
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I'm a huge fan of Braciole and if there is Rigatoni Bolognese, it's mine.